Other books by Professor Solomon:
How to Find Lost Objects by Professor Solomon
Copyright © 1993, 2008 by Top Hat Press All rights reserved
Drawings by Steve Solomon Photographs by Brad Fowler and Leonard Solomon The author thanks Larry Callahan and Elizabeth Minter for their assistance.
Top Hat Press BALTIMORE
A Method That Works
This Book’s for You .........................................................3
The Facts ........................................................................5
2. The Principles The Twelve Principles....................................................10
PRINCIPLE ONE: Don’t Look for It ...................................12
PRINCIPLE TWO: It’s Not Lost—You Are ...........................14
PRINCIPLE THREE: Remember the Three C’s....................16
PRINCIPLE FOUR: It’s Where It’s Supposed to Be ..............18
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Domestic Drift ......................................20
PRINCIPLE SIX: You’re Looking Right at It .......................22
PRINCIPLE SEVEN: The Camouﬂage Effect .......................24
PRINCIPLE EIGHT: Think Back ........................................26
PRINCIPLE NINE: Look Once, Look Well .........................28
PRINCIPLE TEN: The Eureka Zone...................................30
PRINCIPLE ELEVEN: Tail Thyself .......................................32
PRINCIPLE TWELVE: It Wasn’t You ....................................34
One More Principle........................................................38
The Way to Search
Betsy Finds Her Keys .....................................................42
The Art of Finding
At My Door..................................................................66
How to Proceed ............................................................69
Common Mistakes to Beware .........................................75
The Bermuda Triangle Myth .........................................79
The Sly Approach ..........................................................83
How to Make a Thinking Cap.......................................85
The Purloined Letter.....................................................90
The Game’s Afoot .........................................................92
Freud’s Fee ....................................................................94
A True Account .............................................................96
This and That
How Not to Lose Things ..............................................103
The Last Place.............................................................104
A Consumer’s Guide to Detection Devices ...................105
Saint Anthony ..............................................................112
Hashevat Aveida ...........................................................114
A Zen Koan...................................................................115
A Final Word ...............................................................122
1. A Method That Works
This Book’s For You
You’ve lost your car keys, and are about to lose your mind. You’ve looked everywhere—have torn your house apart—but can’t ﬁnd those keys. Your day has ground to a halt. Your life is on hold. A glazed look has come into your eye. You’re going nuts! All because of a missing set of keys. You begin another search. Like a wild man, you rummage through room after room. Half an hour later, they still haven’t turned up. You throw your self on the sofa and groan: “This is ridiculous!”
“Sir, how did you ﬁnd that elusive checkbook?”
“Why, simple,” he replies with a modest smile. “By
applying the Twelve Principles.”
“The Twelve Principles?”
“That’s right. As outlined in HOW TO FIND LOST OBJECTS
by Professor Solomon.”
And he continues on his way—while you are about
to resume the frantic hunt for your keys.
But…maybe it’s time that you, too, checked out
those Twelve Principles.
Maybe you’re ready, after all these years, to become
a Finder, not a Loser.
If you think you might be—if you’re seriously inter
ested in locating what you lose —this book’s for you.
Finally, you check your pocket. For the keys? No, for the bus fare you’re going to need to get to work. It’s come to that. Talk about feeling foolish. Meanwhile, your neighbor has mislaid his check book. Less than a minute later, he has found it, and is coolly walking out his front door. How did he do it? How did he avoid the frustra tion—the inconvenience—the loss of time—so often caused by misplaced objects? Let’s ask him. 3
Young and old, rich and poor, city folks and farm ers—we’re all constantly losing things. It’s an ageold problem—as old as the pyramids. And one that’s not about to go away.
Yes, lost objects can be found.
How is it done? By following my method. Interested? Read on.
Every day millions of objects are misplaced in the United States. Among them are wallets, rings, keys, scissors, sweaters, notebooks, eyeglasses, theatre tickets, important documents—you name it. (A circus elephant is said to have been lost recently in Florida!) Many of these objects are never recovered —possibly a billion dollars’ worth annually. (Their sentimental value, of course, is incalculable.) Even more disturbing is the time spent looking for such objects. The average person could spend up to two months of his life searching—often fruitlessly—for things he has lost. Then there’s the “nuisance factor” associated with missing objects. The cars that can’t be started. The books that can’t be read. The business that can’t be conducted. Millions of Americans experience such frustrations daily. It is something that touches each of our lives, and that can make a nightmare of an ordinary day—that can drive us to distraction! But the incredible fact is this: Each and every one of those objects—the tickets, the eyeglasses, the elephant—could have been found. Easily. Within minutes. 5
My method is unique, amazing, and easy to learn. It is based on what I call the Twelve Principles—a set of precepts designed to lead you directly to any lost object. Like a bloodhound! I discovered these principles after years of bitter experience. For I, too, was once a Loser and a Weeper. I, too, was constantly being mocked by misplaced keys, books, manuscripts, pajama tops. My cap would vanish. My pen would hide from me. The list was endless.
tions that seem particularly relevant to your own
Then, the next time you lose something, open this
book and make the Twelve Principles work for you.
I can almost guarantee they will.
Are you ready?
Let’s learn how to ﬁnd lost objects.
On to the Principles.
But then I realized that lost objects can be found. If the search is conducted systematically, and mind ful of a few basic ideas. It wasn’t long before I was ﬁnding my things with an ease that seemed miraculous. Yet no psychic powers, expensive equipment, or special skills were involved. Simply a method. I also began to help friends ﬁnd their lost items. Astounded at the results, they urged me to write this book. You’ll be astounded, too, as missing objects virtu ally line up to be found! I recommend that you start by reading the book through from beginning to end. Introduce yourself to the Principles. Follow Betsy as she searches for her keys—the wrong way and the right way. Get a feel for my tips and techniques. And mark any sec 7
The Twelve Principles
My method is based on the Twelve Principles—a set of fundamental guidelines for ﬁnding lost objects. The Twelve Principles are:
2. The Principles
1. Don’t Look for It 2. It’s Not Lost—You Are 3. Remember the Three C’s 4. It’s Where It’s Supposed to Be 5. Domestic Drift 6. You’re Looking Right at It 7. The Camouflage Effect 8. Think Back 9. Look Once, Look Well 10. The Eureka Zone 11. Tail Thyself 12. It Wasn’t You These Principles are the core of my method. So get acquainted with them. Learn them. Master them. Then, whenever something can’t be found, simply apply the Principles. So…let’s get right into them.
Don’t Look for It Something’s lost, and your ﬁrst thought—your basic instinct—is to look for it. You’re ready to start rum maging about. To hunt for it in a random, and increasingly frenetic, fashion. To ransack your own house. This is the most common mistake people make. And it can doom their search from the start. I know you’re eager to ﬁnd that lost item. But not yet. Don’t look for it yet. Wait until you have some idea where to look.
It’s Not Lost—You Are Have you ever stopped to think that maybe it’s you that are lost—not those keys or that umbrella? Because a fundamental truth is this: There are no missing objects. Only unsystematic searchers. Accept that—copy it down and tape it to your mir ror—and you’ll soon be ﬁnding things with ease.
Remember the Three C’s To ﬁnd a lost object, you must be in the proper frame of mind. And that means paying attention to the Three C’s. They are: COMFORT Start by making yourself comfortable in an arm chair or sofa. Have a cup of tea, perhaps, or a stick of gum. CALMNESS Next, empty your mind of any unsettling thoughts. Pretend that the sea is lapping at your feet. Or that you’re sitting in a garden full of birds and ﬂowers. CONFIDENCE Finally, tell yourself you will locate that missing object. (To enhance your conﬁdence, you might want to don a thinking cap. See instructions on how to make one.)
Now you’re ready. To begin a systematic search.
It’s Where It’s Supposed to Be Believe it or not, things are often right where they’re supposed to be. Is there a place where your missing object is nor mally kept? A particular rack, or shelf, or drawer? If so, look there ﬁrst. You may actually have hung up your coat last night. Or put the dictionary back on the shelf. Or returned the tape measure to the tool drawer. Even if you didn’t, someone may have done it for you.
Domestic Drift Many objects do have a designated or customary place where they are kept. But the reality is that they aren’t always returned there. Instead, they are left wherever last used. Such objects have undergone Domestic Drift. They could be anywhere in the house, or out in the yard. Relax. Get comfortable. Pour yourself a cup of cof fee. Now try to remember. Where were you last using that pliers, or tape measure, or fountain pen? Where did you last have it? Because that’s precisely where it still may be.
You’re Looking Right at It All right. You checked where it’s supposed to be, where it was last used, or where it might have been casually tossed. And it wasn’t there. Or…was it? It is possible to look directly at a missing object and not see it. This is due to the agitated state of mind that often accompanies a misplacement. Go back and look again. It may be staring you in the face. Occasionally, our distress is such that not only do we overlook an object—we forget what we’re look ing for! To avoid this, repeatedly murmur the name of the object. (“Potholder, potholder, potholder.”) But why the agitation? Have we forgotten the sec ond C? Return to your armchair and get calm.
The Camouﬂage Effect Don’t be fooled. Your object may be right where you thought it was—but it has become hidden from view. Be sure to check under anything that could be covering your object, having inadvertently been placed on top of it. I call this the Camouﬂage Effect. Among the most common offenders are newspapers and sombreros.
Think Back You were there at the scene of the misplacement. You were there when the object was put down— was left in an obscure location—was consigned to oblivion. You were there—because you did it! So you must have a memory—however faint—of where this happened. Are you prepared to think back, and retrieve that memory? If so, you may soon be crying out “Of course!” and making a beeline to that forgotten place.
Look Once, Look Well Don’t go around in circles. Once you’ve checked a site, don’t go back and check again. No matter how promising a site—if the object wasn’t there the ﬁrst time, it won’t be there the second. Assuming, of course, that your first check was thorough.
The Eureka Zone The majority of lost objects are right where you ﬁg ure—once you take a moment to stop and ﬁgure. Others, however, are in the immediate vicinity of that place. They have undergone a displacement—a shift in location that, although minor, has served to ren der them invisible. Some examples: A pencil has rolled beneath a typewriter. A tool has been shoved to the rear of a drawer. A book on a shelf has gotten lodged behind other books. A folder has been misﬁled, several folders away from where it belongs.
Objects are apt to wander. I have found, though, that they tend to travel no more than eighteen inches from their original location. To the circle described by this eighteeninch radius I have given a name. I call it the Eureka Zone. With the aid of a ruler (or a EurekaStik—see later), determine the Eureka Zone of your lost object. Then explore it. Meticulously.
Tail Thyself If you still haven’t found your object, it may be time to Recreate the Crime. Remove your thinking cap and don your detective’s cap. For you are about to follow your own trail. Let’s create a typical scenario. You come home from work and ﬁnd a letter in the mail. Some time later you’re ready to read it…but it’s missing. You’re per turbed and perplexed. Where’s that letter? Okay, start at the door and retrace your steps since returning home. Where in the house did you go? To what speciﬁc locations? Stop at each of them and look for the letter. Hmm, a coat thrown across a chair. You were here. (Check under the coat and in its pockets.) A depression in the sofa. You were here. On the kitchen counter, a glass. You were here. On the table by the armchair, candy wrappers and a novel. You were here. And marking your place in the novel—aha! That missing letter. Good work, gumshoe. 32
It Wasn’t You When all else has failed, explore the possibility that your object hasn’t been misplaced. Rather, it’s been misappropriated. Perhaps someone you know has borrowed your umbrella. Or eaten your doughnut. Or taken your magazine into another room. Approach that person and inquire if such might not be the case. (“Have you by any chance seen my…?” is a tactful way to phrase this.)
8. There are twelve months in the year, twelve members of
a jury, twelve signs of the zodiac, and Nine Principles for ﬁnding lost objects. true
Let’s see if you have mastered the Principles. Check true or false to each of the following statements:
When you have completed the quiz, turn the page.
1. If you misplace something, search your entire house for it. Do so in a frenzied, unsystematic fashion. Do not use the Twelve Principles. true
2. Never check under a sombrero for a missing object. true
3. The Three C’s are Confusion, Consternation, and Dis comfort. true
4. The Eureka Zone is a mountainous area of the Yukon, in which gold was discovered in 1848. true
5. Poltergeists, gremlins, and other supernatural beings are responsible for the majority of lost objects. true
6. Domestic Drift is a term used by bureaucrats, to refer to houses that ﬂoat off during a ﬂood. true
7. A misplaced elephant cannot be found. true
One More Principle
The following principle is a special one. I call it the THIRTEENTH PRINCIPLE. And I have kept it apart from the others to underscore its use in a certain dire situation only. The situation is this: You’ve applied each of the Twelve Principles, and still haven’t found your object. That should rarely happen. But when it does, you have a recourse—the THIRTEENTH PRINCIPLE. Okay, turn the page and take a look. If you answered false to each of the eight questions, congratulations! You have mastered the Twelve Principles. Welcome to the ranks of those who locate what they lose.
Qué Será, Será Have you been applying the Principles? If so, you should have found your object by now. But occasionally, Fate chooses to separate us from one of our possessions. When that seems to be the case, it’s time to call off the search. Your missing object may eventually turn up. Until then, accept that you are being offered a lesson: in patience…or humility…or nonattachment to the things of this world. And if not, so what? Lost keys, books, eyeglasses— even elephants!—can be replaced. Such losses are inconvenient and vexing. Yet surely they have their place in the inscrutable economy of the Universe. You’ve done what you can. So relax, and—with a shrug of resignation—accept the fate of your object. Qué será, será. What will be, will be.
Betsy Finds Her Keys
Let’s follow Betsy as she conducts a search—ﬁrst the wrong way, then the right way! ●
3. The Way to Search
Betsy reads Professor Solomon’s HOW TO FIND LOST OBJECTS. She is intrigued by his method, and is sure it will someday come in handy. 42
A few days later, she is about to leave for work, when…she can’t ﬁnd her keys.
“They must be in here,” she mutters, and empties her briefcase on the ﬂoor.
She looks everywhere.
Where are they? she wonders.
Has the ﬁsh got them?
She’s going nuts.
It’s Professor Solomon, 53
taking a stroll. 54
“Of course,” says Betsy. “I forgot all about his method. The Twelve Principles! My keys aren’t lost, I am.”
She begins by applying the 3 C’s.
Then it’s Tail Thyself.
Betsy closes in on those elusive keys.
Determining her Eureka Zone.
She’s mighty pleased.
And it’s off to work.
“Next time,” says Betsy, “I’ll try the Twelve Prin ciples ﬁrst.”
At My Door
4. The Art of Finding
People show up at my door, tell me they’ve lost this
or that vital possession, and plead with me to help
them ﬁnd it.
I ask them: “What was the ﬁrst thing you did when
you realized it was missing?”
They shrug and reply: “I looked around the house
“I thought so,” I say, shaking my head sadly. “Well,
you committed the Basic Blunder. Never ‘look around’
for a lost object.”
That throws them for a loop. They stare at me and
mutter: “Don’t look around for it?”
“You heard me.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“Follow me and I’ll show you.”
I take them into the yard, where I make myself
comfortable in a lawn chair.
“This is how,” I say to them. “How I ﬁnd lost
“But you’re just sitting there.”
“Not at all. I’m hard at work.”
“Indeed it is. I’m trying to ﬁnd your lost object.”
“You are? But how?”
“By applying the Three C’s: Comfort, Calmness,
genie were at your command, magically locating your object. Yet no magic will be involved—just a method. A method that works.
and Conﬁdence. By the way, what size head do you have? We’ll want to make you a thinking cap.” At this point, many grow dubious and leave. I never see them again. Others decide to stick around and learn my method. If you’ve come this far in the book, you’re obviously among the latter. You’ve mastered the Twelve Prin ciples, and are ready now for a comprehensive look at the art of ﬁnding. The sections that follow will deal with a variety of lostobject situations. Study these sections. Become familiar with the ins and outs of ﬁnding. Get a practical sense of what it’s all about. Then, the next time you lose something, you should be able to ﬁnd it with ease. It will be as if a 67
How to Proceed
How should you go about using my method? What speciﬁc steps should you take, in order to recover your object? How exactly is a search to be conduct ed?
Instead, he is cool and collected. He sits and ponders, like a poet lost in reverie. He listens—to memories, brainstorms, hunches. And he searches with con ﬁdence. But most of all, he applies the Principles. If you proceed as I have outlined, you should have no trouble in tracking down your object.
There’s no one answer to that. Finding is an art; and every Finder develops a style—an approach— a modus operandi—of his own. Moreover, every misplacement is unique, and must be solved in an ad hoc fashion. But basically, here’s what I tell people: Sit down, make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath or two…and ponder. Ask yourself: Where is that object? In what obvious place? Try to recall or ﬁgure out its whereabouts. And the most effective means of doing that? The Twelve Principles, of course. Simply go through them, one by one, and see where they lead you. (If you haven’t yet memo rized the Principles, position my book in front of you. It’s been designed to lie ﬂat, open to a partic ular Principle while you sip coffee, think, scratch your head, reread the Principle, stare off into space, sigh, rack your brains, etc.) When a possible location pops into mind, go check it out. If it’s a dud, return to your seat and continue as above. Remember, your frame of mind during this process is critical. Anxiety, selfreproach, haste—a Finder will have nothing to do with such Defeat Factors. 69
One of the most common recovery areas for lost objects is the automobile. Your object may simply be lying on the car seat, where you left it. Or it may have become wedged between cushions, or have fallen on the ﬂoor. If you were traveling in an auto mobile, check these places. (And remember, check thoroughly. A cursory examination can be disas trous—as will be explained in “Common Mistakes to Beware.”)
Are you one of those people who like to sprawl on the sofa? And your wallet—which you carry in a pants pocket—is missing? Maybe it fell out on the sofa. Go look. It should be noted that dropping things is not the same as misplacing them: no lapse of memory is involved. So if a set of keys has fallen from your pocket, or an earring from your ear, most of the Principles will not be relevant. One that will be, however, is “Tail Thyself.” Simply follow your trail about the house, closely examining the ﬂoor, stairs, seat cushions, etc.
Instead of being where it’s supposed to be, your object may be where something else is supposed to be. What happened was a mental lapse, in which one routine motion got substituted for another. For example, your scissors are normally kept in a jar on the kitchen counter; but mindlessly, you returned them to the tool drawer.
To reduce the likelihood of a misplacement, and to facilitate any searches that become necessary, keep your home neat and orderly. Remember the maxim: A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE.
What were you wearing when you last remember having the object? Think back, then go search the pockets of those clothes. And be meticulous—search every pocket. The one you skip could be the one you’re after.
If a loss is thought to have occurred outside the home, sit down and review your movements dur ing the day. Then telephone around, to see whether the item has been found. If it’s a wallet, bag, or briefcase that may have been left in a store, have them check near the cash register: while paying, you may have put it down, then left it behind. Or if you dropped something, a good Samaritan may
have found it and left it with the cashier. In the case of institutions—schools, community centers, the atres—ask if they have a lostandfound. Should this phone search prove fruitless (or not be feasible), leave the house and return to the loca tions you visited during the day. At each of them retrace your steps—keeping a sharp eye out for the object. But remember: neither of the above should be re sorted to prematurely. First search your house— search your own immediate surroundings. For that’s usually where a missing object is. Don’t race back in a panic to the supermarket—only to discover your wallet tucked away in the wrong section of your purse.
As you sit and ponder the whereabouts of a lost object, your state of mind should be like that of a daydreamer: relaxed and contemplative. But when you get up to go check a site, shift gears. Be alert, energetic, and thorough—you’re a detective now.
Where has this object been found before? To what location does it seem to gravitate? Where has it turned up again and again? Routinely, objects are mislaid in the same place— the same obvious place. Keys are left in locks. Brief cases in cars. Eyeglasses atop heads. Try looking there…before you ransack the house.
Objects do disappear—thanks to thieves, trade rats, leprechauns, and the like. However, such incidents are infrequent; and their slight possibility must not provide an excuse for abandoning the search. Be steadfast. That diamond ring has simply been mis laid, and can be found—if you are persistent and methodical.
Be sure you’re not looking for a phantom posses sion: something you had planned to purchase but then never did. (Or something you acquired in a dream.) 73
I see the same mistakes being made, again and again, in connection with lost objects. Among them are:
The Panicky Presumption Pity the poor soul who goes through wastebaskets or garbage bags—or even races to the town dump! —in search of something that’s right where it’s sup posed to be.
The Rash Accusation “Who’s got my coffee mug?” (or stapler or newspa per or elephant) we demand, after only a superﬁcial search. A rash accusation—in what will probably prove a case of mere misplacement.
The Maniacal Search
Our misplacement throws us into a frenzy; and like a wild man we search the entire house. We stalk about, riﬂing through drawers, emptying boxes, turning things inside out—and utterly neglecting the Twelve Principles. Maniacal searches are undigniﬁed and exhausting. Worse yet, they tend to fail: an agitated eye will pass right over its quarry. Apply the Principles!
Mistaken Image of an Object I once helped a friend search his bookshelves for a particular book. He had described it to me as a hardback. So that’s what we looked for—at length and in vain. Finally, I grew suspicious of his description, and began to examine the paper backs as well. And there it was, in plain sight. Our false image of the book had prevented us from ﬁnding it.
Wild Goose Chase Suspicion We are about to search our house for an object. Yet we suspect that it’s not in the house, and that we are embarking on a Wild Goose Chase. So we search halfheartedly—causing us to over look the object. Which convinces us that it’s not in the house.
We’ve misplaced some tiny item—a pill, say, or a screw—and it could be anywhere in the house. We consider not even attempting a search. “I’m not go ing to ﬁnd it,” we murmur. “That darn thing’s gone forever.” No! Say instead: “It is here somewhere, and I shall succeed in finding it. Why? Because I’ve got the Twelve Principles. Principles that work.”
immediately into the search. (Don’t go off and survey other rooms, lest you fail to return to this one—a Quick Look after all!)
The Quick Look As we sit and ponder the whereabouts of an object, a number of possible sites come to mind. So we take a Quick Look—a mere glance—into those nearest at hand. The idea is to move on to more promising sites. These initial ones, we tell our selves, can always be returned to for a closer inspec tion. A harmless expedient? Not if it results in an over looked object. For we may misremember those initial sites as having been closely inspected, and never return to them.
NOTE: The Quick Look is not to be confused with the Cool
Onceover. The Cool Onceover is a legitimate shortcut, and should precede any meticulous search. It works like this: You suspect an object to be somewhere in a particular room, and are about to search that room. Before doing so, give it a general survey—an alert roving of the eye—a Cool Once over. Your object may be sitting in plain sight. If so, you will spot it and avoid a meticulous search. If not, move 77
Can our possessions drop off the face of the earth? Is there a mysterious region into which they van ish, never to be seen again? Do supernatural forces or beings cause the disappearance of some objects?
The TreasureTrove Syndrome We hide some valuables in a distinctive place—a
location so unique that it will be sure to stick in our
They’re still there.
RingORuption We are making a household repair, when the tele phone rings. Rushing to answer it, we drop the tool we were using on the ﬁrst surface that presents itself. It’s still there.
Of course not (though an occasional leprechaun may pilfer things from the kitchen at night). Rather, one of the following phenomena may be involved:
Pocket Gobble Absentmindedly, we slip something into one of
It’s still there.
The Hands Full Situation
Returning home with groceries, dry cleaning, and briefcase, we ﬁnd our hands full. So in order to unlock the door, we set down one of those items. “Just for a second.” It’s still there.
We loan something to a friend, then forget that we
She’s still got it.
Be Right Back A variation of the above. Rather than set something down, we struggle to unlock the door—then leave the keys in the lock, intending to return immedi ately and fetch them. They’re still there.
The mind wants to believe that things mysteriously disappear—that they are spirited away by super natural forces or beings. But (except for that pilfer ing leprechaun), it just isn’t so. Most lost objects are somewhere near at hand…waiting to be found. Your task is to ﬁnd them.
The Sly Approach
You might want to try outwitting your object. As you sit and ponder, mutter that you haven’t a clue as to its whereabouts. Or pretend not to care much about ﬁnding it. The idea is to lull the object into a false sense of security. Then saunter over to where you suspect it to be— and pounce on it!
How to Make a
A thinking cap can boost your conﬁdence, and focus your mental energies. Here’s how to make one. 1. Take a folded sheet of newspaper and
locate its centerline.
Fold the upper cor
ners down to meet
5. Fold the lower corners to the bottom of the band.
6. Fold the flap up over the band.
7. Fold the top of the flap down into the band.
8. Fold the peak of the cap down to the bottom of the band. Tuck it in.
9. Open the cap and flatten its top. Fold the pointed ends down into the band.
10. Don the cap…and you’re ready to think.
3. Fold it up again to
create the band of
2. Fold the top sheet up
to meet the base of
4. Turn the cap over and
fold the right and left
edges so that they
meet at the centerline.
(For a largesize cap,
let them fall an inch
short of the center line.)
Inspect every inch of that Zone—every nook and cranny. Check under and behind things. And don’t
And lo, a EurekaStik. Align its zero mark with the spot from which the object is suspected of having been displaced. Now rotate the arrow (see Figure 1). The circle described is your Eureka Zone.
1. Fold along dotted line. 2. Fold tab A over tab B. 3. Tape them together. 4. Slide attachment onto end of ruler. 5. Tape it there.
There’s a convenient way to determine your Eureka Zone; and that’s by using a EurekaStik. They’re easy to make—all you need is an ordinary ruler, the attachment on the next page, scissors, and tape. Start by cutting out the attachment. Then:
In Principle Ten we learned about the Eureka Zone —that limited area in which displaced objects tend to be found. It was described as a circle whose cen ter is the original location of the object, and whose radius is eighteen inches.
be fooled by vertical displacement—check the ﬂoor, too. (See note.) Remember, your EurekaStik can be helpful, but it’s not a magic wand. How you go about searching is what will make the difference. NOTE: That eighteen inches assumes a simple case of hori zontal displacement. But a vertical displacement may be involved as well (for example, a golf ball rolling off a desk and dropping to the ﬂoor), followed by a secondary hori zontal displacement (the ball bouncing off somewhere). In such cases, use the formula
EZ = 18 + d + bf where EZ is the Eureka Zone, d is the distance the object drops, and bf is the bounce factor. (Bounce factors range from 250 to zero. See table below.) Also, in cases of oversized objects (brooms, ladders, surf boards, etc.), use a search radius of eighteen feet. And for missing ﬁles, check ﬁve folders in either direction.
Some Sample Bounce Factors Object bf (in inches) Rubber ball......................................................250 Lemon...............................................................10 Glass heirloom.....................................................0
The Purloined Letter
Hidden objects resemble misplaced ones in many respects, and may be searched for in a like manner. The classic tale of such a search is “The Purloined Letter” by Edgar Allan Poe. It goes as follows: The Paris police are trying to recover a compromis ing letter that has been stolen from a royal person age. Believing it to be concealed in the home of a certain government ofﬁcial, they undertake a search of the premises. Their search is meticulous. Every square inch of the apartment is scrutinized, every conceivable hiding place looked into. Drawers are emptied—chairs are dismantled—cushions are probed with long needles. The ﬂoors, walls, and ceilings are exam ined with a microscope, for signs of replastering. Yet the letter cannot be found. C. Auguste Dupin, an aristocratic sleuth, is brought into the case. Using his powers of analysis, he con ducts a search of his own…and locates the letter almost immediately. When he delivers it to the police, they are amazed. Where was it? they want to know. How could their minute examination of the apartment have failed to uncover it? Dupin smiles languidly, and explains that the ofﬁcial—aware that a meticulous search would be conducted for the letter—“had resorted to the
comprehensive and sagacious expedient of not
attempting to conceal it at all.” Instead, the man had left it in plain sight, crumpled up as if unim portant and thrust carelessly into a rack. And there the police ignored it. After all, the letter they were seeking would have been carefully pre served and tucked away in some secret place. Had Dupin been familiar with the Twelve Princi ples, he might have told the redfaced gendarmes: “Messieurs, you were looking right at it.”
The Game’s Afoot In “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” Sherlock Holmes is engaged to locate a husband who has mysteri ously disappeared. Watson gives this description of Holmes solving the case: A large and comfortable doublebedded room had been placed at our disposal, and I was quickly between the sheets, for I was weary after my night of adventure. Sherlock Holmes was a man, however, who, when he had an unsolved problem upon his mind, would go for days, and even for a week, without rest, turning it over, rearranging his facts, looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or con vinced himself that his data were insufﬁcient. It was soon evident to me that he was now preparing for an allnight sitting. He took off his coat and waistcoat, put on a large blue dressinggown, and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed and cushions from the sofa and armchairs. With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan, upon which he perched himself crosslegged, with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. In the dim light of the lamp, I saw him sitting there, an old briar pipe between his lips, his eyes ﬁxed vacantly upon the ceiling, the blue smoke curling up from him, silent, motionless, with the light shining upon his strongset aquiline features. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep, and so he sat when a sudden ejac ulation caused me to wake up, and I found the sum mer sun shining into the apartment. The pipe was still between his lips, the smoke still curling upward, and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze, but nothing remained of the heap of shag which I had seen upon the previous night. 92
“Awake, Watson?” he asked.
“Game for a morning drive?”
“Then dress....” He chuckled to himself as he spoke,
his eyes twinkled, and he seemed a different man to
the somber thinker of the previous night.
What better example of someone applying the Three C’s—Comfort, Calmness, and Conﬁdence—as he begins a hunt!
According to Freud, objects may be intentionally misplaced. We want to forget where we left them. We want to overlook them. InThe Psychopathology of Everyday Life, he describes “the unconscious dexterity with which an object is mislaid on account of hidden but powerful motives.” These motives involve “the low estima tion in which the lost object is held, or a secret antipathy towards it or towards the person that it came from.” Freud tells of a patient who could not ﬁnd the keys to his desk, despite a painstaking search of his apartment. Sensing that the loss was intentional— a “symptomatic act”—the patient had his servant take up the search. The servant found the keys. The patient then delved into his unconscious. Why, he wondered, had he been unable to locate the keys? What had been his secret motive? Could it relate some how to his treatment session with Freud, scheduled for the following day? Suddenly, it dawned on him. Their loss had pre vented a certain drawer from being opened—the drawer in which the money for his treatment was kept. His motive for losing the keys? Secret rage, he realized, at having to pay Freud so high a fee! If you suspect your own misplacement to be inten tional, have a friend join in the search.
A True Account
In his story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorge Luis Borges tells of a world where (among other marvels) lost objects duplicate themselves. Thus, a searcher may come upon the object itself—or may have found its duplicate. Known as hrönir, these duplicates are usually mistaken for the object. They are not, however, exact copies. A hrön may be slight ly larger than the original, and will possess some imperfection of form.
The following letter is from Larry Callahan, an artist in Southern California, whom I had introduced to the Twelve Principles:
There are also hrönir that barely resemble the ob ject that engendered them. Instead, they fulﬁll the searcher’s desires in regard to that object. For exam ple, he loses a pencil…and ﬁnds a fountain pen. In the real world, hrönir shouldn’t be a problem. But do take care to search for the actual object— not (as in my search for the supposedly hardcover book) an idealized image of it.
Dear Professor Solomon,
I had an experience recently that involved your method.
A friend needed a rental car; and I agreed to drive him
to the airport to pick one up. I had some errands to run—letters to mail at the post ofﬁce, and checks to deposit at my bank—so I decided to do it all in a sin gle trip. I placed the letters and checks together in one pile (aware that this was reckless, but trusting myself to separate them at the appropriate moment), grabbed my car keys, and set out. My ﬁrst stop was the post ofﬁce, where I deposited the letters in a curbside mailbox. Then I picked up my friend and proceeded to the airport. At the rental agency he went inside, while I waited to make sure there was no problem. As I sat in my car, I noticed an accumulation of trash on the ﬂoor. Why not put these idle minutes to use, I said to myself, and do some car cleaning? So I gathered up the trash— bags, ﬂiers, newspapers, and whatnot—and dropped it into a receptacle outside the agency. My friend emerged with a set of keys and a rental con tract. I said goodbye and drove off, headed now for my bank. At the bank I parked and looked about for those checks. They were nowhere to be seen. Frowning, I checked my pockets. I peered into the glove compartment. I poked about on the ﬂoor and under the��seat. All to no avail. The checks had disappeared. I tried not to panic. My anxiety level was rising, 96
though—when I recalled your method. The Twelve
Principles, I murmured. Why not give them a try?
The ﬁrst that came to mind was “Don’t look for it.”
Too late there—I had already searched the car. I
moved on to “The three C’s”—adjusting the seat to
get comfortable, taking deep breaths to calm myself,
and telling myself that the checks had to be SOME
I groaned. It was obvious what had happened. I had
dropped the whole pile into the mailbox—just as I
had known I was capable of doing. What a ridiculous
thing to have done! My checks were gone, swallowed
up by the postal system.
But wait—maybe they were retrievable. A leviathan
had swallowed them; but maybe I could descend into
its belly and get them back. It was worth a try. Our
local post ofﬁce is a small, friendly place. Conceivably,
they would take pity on me.
Trying to stay calm, I returned to the post ofﬁce and
explained to a postal employee what had happened.
Other employees gathered to listen, and to shake their
heads at my blunder. Was there any way to get the
checks back? I asked. I was told that a procedure did
exist for retrieving mail. I would have to ﬁll out a form,
and pay a small charge, for each item returned to me.
“Let’s go for it,” I said, trying to sound jocular.
First we looked through the hampers in the back room.
Plenty of mail, but no loose checks. Then we went
outside, opened the mailboxes, and checked their con
tents. Still no checks.
I racked my brains. Where else could they be? Think
I thought back…and saw myself gathering up that
trash in my car.
O no. The checks must have fallen on the ﬂoor, and
been in with the trash.
“That’s it!” I cried. “They’re in the trash can!”
I described this new theory to the postal employees.They
began to look at me funny. Bidding them a hasty fare
well, I dashed to my car and drove back to the airport.
At the rental agency I got out of my car and eyed the
trash receptacle. I removed its lid and looked in.
There was nothing inside. The receptacle had been
emptied since my departure.
By the garage were a pair of rubbish bins. I approached
them, hoisted myself up on one of them, and peered
inside—at a mass of rubbish. In these bins the agency
emptied its trash; and in these bins, I was convinced,
were my checks. O my, what was I to do?
I could do the sensible thing and admit defeat. After
all, the checks were replaceable. It would be tiresome
and embarrassing; but I could contact each client,
explain my blunder, and ask for a new check.
Or—the indignity be damned!—I could search through
I decided to search.
Taking a deep breath, I climbed into the bin and sank
kneedeep in trash. The agency disposed of a large
quantity of computer printouts; and had it not been
for the coffee grounds, pencil shavings, and snack
remains mixed in, I might have enjoyed as a lark my
descent into this binful of paper. But I persevered.
Finding nothing in the ﬁrst bin, I hopped out and
climbed into the second.
Incredibly, after a bit of digging, I found my checks.
They were among some contract forms and crushed
Next came “You’re looking right at it.” I was? The checks
were right in front of me? I glared at an empty dash
Then I remembered the Principle about thinking back.
So I thought back, trying to picture what I had done
with the checks. AND I SAW MYSELF PUTTING THEM
TOGETHER WITH THE LETTERS!
cups. I emerged from that bin knowing more than I cared to about the underbelly of the carrental busi ness. But I had my checks. Without the Principles I would never have found them. Your method is invaluable, for people like me when we do something stupid! Much thanks. Yours, Larry
The above is a testimonial, which I appreciate. But it is also a cautionary tale. For the truth is that Larry was lucky. Let’s take a look at his case. Yes, he emerged from the rubbish bin triumphantly clutching his checks. They were in there. But they could just as easily have been under his car seat, between the cushions, in the glove compartment, or in one of his pockets. While he may have looked in these places, he does not seem to have looked well. “I checked…I peered…I poked about,” he tells us—describing a search that sounds to me cursory and incomplete. In other words, he should have begun with a metic ulous search of his car. Instead, he took a Quick Look, then succumbed to one Panicky Presump tion after another. They’re in the mailbox! he cried —no, the trash can!—no, the bin! That one of these long shots happened to pan out does not justify his failure to have eliminated ﬁrst the more likely sites. Descending into a rubbish bin must always remain a last resort.
5. This and That
There is no such thing as a lost movie—only mislaid movies. And I shall ﬁnd them. —MILES KREUGER, FILM HISTORIAN ●
Last Saturday morning, I concluded that there is noth ing harder to ﬁnd than a bottle of pancake syrup reshelved six inches away from its accustomed spot. —BURTON HILLIS, COLUMNIST FOR BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS ●
Having nothing, nothing can he lose. —SHAKESPEARE ●
When does a poor man rejoice? When he loses some thing and ﬁnds it again. —YIDDISH PROVERB ●
The quickest way to ﬁnd something you’ve lost or mis placed is to purchase another just like it.
If an airline, railway, or bus line has lost your lug gage, you and they can work together to ﬁnd it. For example, I once took a train to Charlottesville, Virginia. To my dismay, my checked baggage failed to arrive with me. The clerk at Amtrak attempted to track it down; but several days went by and still no baggage. Finally, I happened to look closely at my claim check, and saw that it read Charlotte. I pointed this out to the clerk, who contacted the station in Charlotte, North Carolina. And yes, my baggage was there. Another time, I arrived in Santa Monica, California, by bus; and the baggage clerk was unable to ﬁnd a pair of boxes I had checked. My heart sank; and I was resigning myself to never again seeing those boxes—when a mad hope gripped me. I asked if I might enter the baggage room and look about for them. The clerk allowed me to do so…and there were my boxes, sitting on a rack. Somehow he had overlooked them. In each case I had feared the worst: the disappear ance of my stuff into some black hole for luggage. Yet a cooperative effort led to recovery.
How Not to Lose
Some of us are prone to losing things. Friends laugh and say: “He’d lose his head if it weren’t nailed on.” Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. To prevent pens from “walking away,” banks chain them to the counter. And some men carry a wallet that is chained to their belts. If your possessions tend to drift off, consider tying them down. The man pictured below says he never loses any thing.
The Last Place
I had the following conversation with a dentist, as he cleaned my teeth: DENTIST: Do you know where a lost object always is? PROF. SOLOMON: Where? DENTIST: In the last place you look. PROF. SOLOMON: You mean, the last place you’d think of looking? DENTIST: No, the last place you look. Because as soon as you ﬁnd it, you stop looking. PROF. SOLOMON: That’s pretty good. May I use it in my book? DENTIST: Sure.
A Consumer’s Guide to Detection Devices
Key Beeper Attached to your key ring, this device will beep repeatedly in response to a clap—thus revealing the location of your keys. Unfortunately, any clap will do; and a key beeper may go off unexpectedly.
Looking for a lostobject detection device? Consider the following:
Larry Callahan (that artist who descended into a rubbish bin) has designed the above contraption. He claims that misplaced objects “disturb the energy flow” of a room—a phenomenon that his machine would be able to detect. The hand, he says, would rotate in the direction of the disturbance. How would the Findometer work? By applying mod ern electronics to fang shui, the ancient Chinese art of geomancy. Sounds good. 105
Knee Pads and Miner’s Lamp
Well diggers, prospectors, treasure hunters, and other practitioners of “dowsing” swear by these. I ﬁnd them unreliable. Still, they’re lightweight and easy to use. Grip the horns ﬁrmly. Then just wander about until you feel a twitch.
These are for crawling about on your hands and knees, as you search for something.
Divining rods have been around for thousands of years. The Egyptians used them to foretell the future; the Romans located precious metals with them. Traditionally, they are fashioned from the branch of a hazel tree. A plastic version may be found in nov elty shops.
But why are you crawling about? Go ﬁnd a com fortable chair, and apply the Principles!
The MOC If you’ve dropped a small object containing iron, you might want to try a MOC, or Magnetic Object Collector. (It’s basically just a magnet.) Drag it about the general area of your loss, until the MOC picks up your object. Can be attached to the family dog.
There are methods besides my own for ﬁnding a lost object (although none of them can rival the Twelve Principles for efﬁcacy, reliability, and ease of appli cation). You might want to try one of the following:
Grandma’s Principle A friend in Ontario writes: When my grandmother wanted to ﬁnd something that was lost, she would stop in the middle of the room and ask herself out loud, “Now if I were a (whatever was lost), where would I go?” She’d muse on that one, and proceed to wherever she decided the thing would have gone to—and there it was!
Hypnosis Hand Tremblers Members of the Navaho tribe consult a Hand Trem bler. The quivering of his hands leads them to lost objects.
Dreams Should be administered by a qualiﬁed professional.
It is not unknown for the location of a missing object to be revealed in a dream. So keep an eye out even while asleep.
Storefront Psychics They will employ their mystic powers to locate your object.
Saint Anthony Our efforts to track down a lost object—by what ever method—are sometimes doomed to failure. When that happens, it may be time to turn to a Higher Power. Catholics have traditionally prayed to Saint Anthony for the restoration of lost objects. A promise is sometimes made that—in return for his services—a donation will be made to the poor. These donations are known as Saint Anthony’s Bread. Children chant the refrain: Saint Anthony, please, come around Something’s been lost and can’t be found.
Saint Anthony may also be called upon in cases of lost faith, hope, or love.
The Talmud contains a set of laws regarding hashe vat aveida, or the return of lost objects. Essentially, a person is bound to return—or make a serious attempt to return—any lost object he has found. Nor may he accept a reward for this service. There are, of course, exceptions and complications. The duty is waived if the object’s owner can be ex pected to have given up hope for its return. And one must be sure the object was lost. If there are signs of its having been deliberately left where found, then the object must not be removed—since to do so would cause its loss. But the basic idea is that ﬁnders are not keepers— in order that losers not be weepers. This mitzvah (commandment, obligation, good deed) has led to the establishment in Jewish communities of special bulletin boards, on which people who have lost or found something may put up notices. One such bulletin board in Jerusalem is a city block long!
A Zen Koan
A monk had misplaced his rice bowl—somewhere in a dark room. He was groping about the room in search of it, when the abbot of the monastery came in and asked what he was doing. The monk explained.
I would like to conclude with a tale. It’s about Lone Cloud, and how he learned that some lost objects should stay lost!
“Why don’t you go outside and look for it?” said the abbot. “There’s more light out there.”
One day Lone Cloud got lost in the forest. On and on
he walked, sure that he would soon come upon a path.
But the forest grew denser, the shadows deeper. Now
and again rose the cry of the raven—an eerie sound in
this pathless place. And Lone Cloud began to feel anx
I’m truly lost, he thought.
Then the forest came to an end; and Lone Cloud found
himself descending into a valley. Only grass grew in
this valley. Winding its way through the grass was a
As he walked along, Lone Cloud was surprised by what
he saw scattered in the grass. For everywhere were arti
cles of daily life—bows, arrows, traps, pots, bowls, balls,
whistles, bracelets, cloaks, moccasins.
Lone Cloud noticed the raven, perched on a basket.
“Where am I?” he asked the wisest of creatures.
“In Wannamoho,” said the raven, “the Valley of Lost
Things. Strewn about you are the missing possessions
of your people.”
“Our missing possessions?”
“Yes. They have been coming here for countless gen
erations—ever since the ﬁrst of your ancestors mislaid
“But how do they get here?”
“They are brought by the Wind That Laughs. The mo
ment something is given up for lost, he laughs—and
wafts it to this valley.”
Lone Cloud—who had never heard of Wannamoho—
gazed about in wonder. The Valley of Lost Things! And
he recalled a pouch he had lost years before. Richly
embroidered, it had contained a ﬁne pipe and powerful
tobacco. How precious that pouch had been to him,
and how he would like it back!
“The pouch I mislaid—it is here in this valley?”
“Show me where. I shall retrieve it and take it back
“I wouldn’t do that. Your pouch belongs now in Wan
namoho. To remove it could bring bad luck upon
“Nonsense,” said Lone Cloud. And he insisted the
raven lead him to his pouch.
So the raven ﬂew into the air, circled about, and
ﬂuttered down to the grass. Lone Cloud came running over—and there was his lost pouch. “Aha!” he cried, grabbing it up. He opened it and beheld his pipe and tobacco. Amazingly, the tobacco was still pungent. Pleased to have regained his pouch, Lone Cloud departed from the valley and wandered the forest. At last he came upon a path, and by dusk was back at his hut. That night he ﬁlled the pipe and smoked it. And he was pufﬁng away and murmuring pleasurably and thinking that this indeed was how to spend his eve nings (and maybe his days, too)—when his hut col lapsed about him! Dazed, Lone Cloud crawled out of the ruins. And he wondered: Could this be that bad luck of which the raven had warned? The next day Lone Cloud was gathering nuts—when the ground opened and he plunged into a bear trap! Bruised and abashed, he climbed out. More bad luck?
And the next day he woke up itching. A rash covered
his body—poison ivy.
“It is as the raven said,” lamented Lone Cloud. “He
warned me that reclaiming my pouch might bring bad
luck. And so it has.”
Lone Cloud searched until he found the raven, perched
in an oak. “You were right,” he said. “I have brought
bad luck upon myself. Tell me what I must do to get
rid of it.”
“The pouch must go back to Wannamoho,” said the
raven. “Only then will this bad luck leave you.”
So Lone Cloud roamed the forest, looking for the Val
ley of Lost Things. He wanted to return the pouch to
where he had found it. But try as he might, he could
not locate that strange valley.
“What am I to do?” he groaned. “Until this pouch is
back in Wannamoho, misfortune will hound me.”
Returning to the ruins of his hut, he found the raven
perched there. “Wisest of creatures,” said Lone Cloud,
“I looked and looked, but could not ﬁnd Wannamo
“It is hard to ﬁnd.”
“How then am I to return this pouch? Perhaps you
could take it back for me?” said Lone Cloud, holding
out the pouch.
“O no,” said the raven.
“Then what am I to do?”
“Go help the beaver.”
Strange advice, thought Lone Cloud. But he walked
along the river until he found the beaver, who was
dragging a tree into the water.
“Let me help you,” he said to the most industrious of
“I could use some help,” said the beaver. “Come, lend
me a hand.”
So Lone Cloud put down his pouch and joined the
beaver. All day they labored together—felling trees,
dragging them to the river, and building a dam. The
work was strenuous, and Lone Cloud wanted to quit.
But he was determined to do as the raven had advised.
Finally, the beaver thanked him and swam off. Lone
Cloud sighed with relief. He was tired and hungry; it
was time to go home and eat. He looked about for his
But where was it? He had left it by the river—but
where exactly he couldn’t recall.
“Where’s that pouch?” cried Lone Cloud.
Up and down the river he searched for it. He seemed
to remember having left it under a bush—but which
bush? For a long time he searched, but without success.
Finally he gave up, plopped to the ground, and sat there
frowning. A wind rustled in the trees.
But then his frown dissolved, and a gleam entered his
eye. For he realized he had lost the pouch again. And that meant it was back in Wannamoho. Lone Cloud jumped for joy, glad to be free of the ill luck that had plagued him.
A Final Word I hope this book has taught you how to locate what you lose. If it has, enter your name on the certiﬁcate. You are now a Finder, not a Loser. You are a master of the right way—the effective way—to search for lost objects. Remember, lost objects can be found. They want to be found. And they will be found—by SYSTEMATIC SEARCHERS.
Searchers for whom ﬁnding things is not a chore, but a challenge. Searchers who—instead of ransacking their own house—sit down, don their thinking cap, take a sip of tea, halfclose their eyes, and murmur: “All right, the game’s afoot!” Searchers like yourself.
has mastered the TWELVE PRINCIPLES, and is qualiﬁed to search for Lost Objects.
This is to Certify that
Certi ﬁcate of Proﬁciency
Also by Professor Solomon:
“How to Make the Most of a Flying Saucer Experience” A comprehensive and entertaining guide to UFOs. Includes tales of contactees, facts about the Space People, and numerous illustrations. Plus, Professor Solomon’s tips— for making the most of a flying saucer experience!
Also by Professor Solomon:
“Coney Island” A history and profile of the legendary amusement area
To download a free copy of this book, go to:
To download a free copy of this book, go to:
“Japan in a Nutshell ” by Professor Solomon At last, the unknown Japan. The traditional Japan. The real Japan. In this erudite yet entertaining work, the Professor explores a Japan of which few of us are aware. For a tour of a unique culture—a fascinating look at its diverse ways and wonders—join him.
“ The Book of King Solomon ” A life of King Solomon, written by his court historian! Translated and Annotated by Professor Solomon An engaging book—highly recommended to anyone wanting to learn more about “the wisest of men,” his place in history, and his relevance today.
To download a free copy of this book, go to: http://www.professorsolomon.com/kingsolomonpage.html To download a free copy of this book, go to: